EXCLUSIVE: RACING QUEENSLAND SWABBING NUMBERS AT SATURDAY CITY MEETINGS NOT UP TO SCRATCH – STEWARDING WORK AT BRISBANE SATURDAY

23/10/14

It is my considered opinion that Racing Queensland is doing the thoroughbred industry in Australia a major disservice – and is leaving itself wide open to public ridicule and questioning – because there simply aren’t a comparative number of swabs being done on Brisbane Saturday metropolitan races when compared to their counterparts at Sydney and Melbourne meetings.

For instance two Saturdays ago, on 11 October at Doomben, Racing Queensland’s Chief Steward for thoroughbreds – Alan Reardon – was in charge of the meeting and as per his stewards report of the day, here is the list of swabbed horses on that day:

Horses swabbed pre-race
4 pre-race
Horses swabbed post-race
All winners + 3

As you can see it’s obviously highly confidential and classified information as to the names of the “4 pre-race” horses that were swabbed along with which “3” horses that were swabbed post race (apart from the winners).

Last Saturday on 18 October, things had picked up somewhat when one extra horse was swabbed pre-race. And this time someone remembered to name them, so congratulations on that. It’s a no brainer for the integrity of the industry that it’s imperative that every swabbed horse is named on a stewards report. In fact I was instrumental in having that aspect brought into stewards reports so that the public can instantly see that every stable is getting its fair share of swabs. Punters want to see that things are transparent, so show it to them. And under the current concept every jurisdiction is doing the right thing and everything is transparent just as it should be – as we certainly don’t need any favouritism being shown or implied.

Last Saturday’s Doomben stewards report stated the following:

Horses swabbed pre-race:

STORM PELOTARI, TERRITORY, I’M USAIN, VERGARA, DUPORTH JACK.
Horses swabbed post race:

All winners.

So with eight races having been run on the Doomben cards that means that in total 13 horses were swabbed at Doomben.

Down south last Saturday, Racing New South Wales Chief Steward, Ray Murrihy, officiated in Sydney at the Randwick meeting and his stewards report advised there were 40 horses swabbed at the Randwick meeting and of that 40, no fewer than five were swabbed twice as indicated by “(2)” after the relevant horse’s name in the following list, so in effect 45 swabs were done on the day, which is a massive 32 more swabs than were taken at Doomben. So an amazing 346% more swabs happened at Randwick than at Doomben.

The Randwick stewards report regarding their swabbing read (Please note: I’m assuming in Race 2 that Excess Knowledge was swabbed twice, as he won but doesn’t have (2) after his name yet every other winner that is named separately in the list below has (2) after its name:

Horses swabbed at the meeting were:

All winners and the following runners:

Race 1: Elle Snitz, Fiery Redhead, Tempt Me Not (2). 
Race 2: Excess Knowledge, Reigning, Malice, Equator, Paederos. 
Race 3: Abduction, Kermadec, Muscovado(2), Good Prince, Candelara. 
Race 4: Shigeru Sendan, Inkling, Limehills, Time For War. 
Race 5: Aeronautical, Kencella, Deep Field (2), That’s A Good Idea. 
Race 6: Celtic Prince, Mulaqen (2), French Gift, World Wide, La Amistad. 
Race 7: Fine Bubbles, Mahara (2), All Cerise, She’s A Girl, Rare Fragrance. 
Race 8: Hera, Bound For Earth, Rose Of Choice, Commanding Wit, Sugar Rush, Brook Road, She’s Clean.

In Melbourne last Saturday, Chief Steward for Racing Victoria, Terry Bailey, officiated and I accept that it was a major Spring Carnival meeting and that 10 races were run – and to that end 50 horses were swabbed.

The Caulfield stewards report from last Saturday stated the following:
Horses swabbed at the meeting were:

Pre-race blood for post race analysis:

R1 – Im A Flying Star, Berimbau, Azkadellia (NZ), R2 – Manhattan Avenue, Liberation, Armada, R3 – Maastricht (NZ), Lady Macan, Set Square, Hipster Girl, R4 – Bachman, Merion (NZ), Crafty, R5 – Manwanui, Under The Louvre, Ryker, Generalife, R6 – Girl Guide, Politeness, Sweet Idea, R7 – Contributer (IRE), Noble Protector (GB), Kingdoms (NZ), R8 – Shamal Wind, Im All The Talk, Unpretentious, R9 – Brambles (NZ), Junoob (GB). 
Pre-race urine for post race analysis:
R1 – Kansas Sunflower (NZ), R4 – Kumaon, R5 – Admire Inazuma (JAP), R6 – Catkins, R8 – Big Money, Bel Sprinter, R9 – Araldo (GB), Seismos (GB).

Post race samples from following horses:
R1 – Sea Spray (winner), R2 – Stratum Star (winner), R3 – Set Square (winner), R4 – Fontein Ruby (winner), Kumaon (unplaced), Merion (NZ) (unplaced), R5 – Lucky Hussler (winner), R6 – Sweet Idea (winner), R7 – Contributer (IRE) (winner), R8 – Bel Sprinter (equal first place), Miracles Of Life (equal first place), R9 – Admire Rakti (JAP) (winner), Rising Romance (NZ) (second placegetter), R10 – The Messina Nymph (winner).

So after taking all that into account, in summary 13 horses were swabbed either pre-race or post-race at Doomben, 45 horses (40 individual horses of which five were swabbed twice) were swabbed in Sydney and 50 horses were swabbed at Caulfield.

If I look at it a different way, at Doomben 13 horses were swabbed from the 86 horses that started at the meeting, which represents 15.11% of all starters being swabbed. In Sydney, 45 of 77 starters, or 58.44% of all starters were swabbed, whilst in Melbourne 50 of 120 starters, or 41.66% were swabbed, so as far as I’m concerned it’s not hard to see that there’s a major problem happening in Brisbane in respect of swabbing.

As the late Gough Whitlam once famously said “you may well say” that one sandwich doesn’t make a picnic and that one Saturday’s statistics are useless, but I can assure you that if you go back and check you will see that no running and handling enquiry needs to be conducted into the matter, as the exact same scenario has unfolded week in and week out for many weeks.

On another stewarding matter in Brisbane, as far as I’m concerned it was “totally ridiculous” from an integrity angle that two well backed runners in Race 6 last Saturday – the Kelly Schweida trained Little Bit Ditsy and the Brian Smith trained Cruz By – can both officially start at 4/1 and get beaten officially 10.75 lengths and 14 lengths respectively, yet Chief Steward Alan Reardon and his panel didn’t ask one solitary question of anyone connected with either runner, nor was either horse swabbed. I, like many others want to know why? When horses perform way below market expectations the punting public are entitled to some answers. In the case of Little Bit Ditsy, she can be seen in the video of the 1350-metre race being scrubbed along as far out as the 900 and is under the whip from jockey McMahon at the 675. In Cruz By’s case, she never got out of reverse gear the entire race. And don’t think because that they were back in the ruck that they couldn’t make ground in that race, as if anybody bothers watching the video replay, Royal Consort comes from behind both those aforesaid horses and beat them both in by panels of fencing. To me that is sub-standard stewarding work and if I were running the show both horses would have had questions asked of their respective trainer regarding the performance of their horse – and both horses would have been swabbed and vetted, particularly so in the case of Little Bit Ditsy, given the fact that it’s public knowledge that Kelly Schweida trains horses for Racing Queensland Chairman, Kevin Dixon.

On www.brisbaneracing.com.au there’s the second of two montages of photos from Doomben last Saturday plus others of interest plus I’m sick and tired of Racing Queensland stealing my harness racing copyrighted photos and show the latest example from just 48 hours ago. On www.sydneyracing.com.au there are two harness racing stories, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Victorian racing is perused.

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